As much as we’d love to already be stuck knee-deep in a messy home improvement project we’ve had to get a few less exciting jobs out of the way first and cleaning the kitchen was top of my priority list. I don’t know about you but for me having a clean kitchen makes everything else that’s wrong with the apartment seem less of an issue.
I’d still really like a new kitchen but given that we’ve just spent a fortune on a new apartment and already have dozens of home improvement projects planned we obviously can’t afford to splurge on a new kitchen just now.
It isn’t all bad though (or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself). By waiting we can get to know the apartment and the way we use it. We can get a feel for the flow and make a better decision on if actually moving the kitchen to the front of the apartment (you can read about the kitchen relocation options here) really does make sense for us.
So, in an attempt to make the kitchen work better for us until we can afford to install the kitchen of our dreams we’ve been busy making a few changes aka. ripping out things that are yet to be replaced.
As just mentioned cleaning the kitchen was probably the single most time-consuming part of our whole “get the kitchen to work for us” project. It wasn’t caked in dirt but it was grimy.
There was just no way I would have been able to feel comfortable with a kitchen that I’d not bleached the life out of I’m sure that the cupboards are also a shade lighter now!
#2 Removed the grill & installed a coffee station
There was an old grill in the tall cupboard. It worked but I know that we would have never used it which is why we decided to remove it (when I say we I, of course, mean Jan because it was surprisingly heavy) and use the space as a kind of coffee/ hot drink station.
It’s really surprising how such a tiny change can have such a big impact on the way you use a space.
#3 Removed cupboards & existing extractor (that didn’t work)
I hated the extractor fan. It totally dominated the whole kitchen and worst of all didn’t even work. In addition to that, the long tall cupboards on either side of the extractor fan cupboard were kind of pointless as I could only reach the bottom shelf.
We already have more than enough storage space in the kitchen (especially as there’s the added bonus of a pantry) which is why we decided that our best option was to rip out all of the upper cabinets on this side of the kitchen.
We still need to patch up the wall, install a new extractor (we still had one in storage from our previous kitchen) and we’d also like to install a couple of shelves but it’s amazing how much more open the kitchen already feels!
At heart, I’m still someone who likes to hide as much junk as possible but as much as I hate to admit it, having just one or two shelves does give you a bit of flexibility as well as somewhere to display just a few curated bits and pieces which make the kitchen feel cosier than just a purely utilitarian space.
#4 Installed a washing machine
You may have already caught our post about some unexpected snags that we encountered, one of which was trying to get the washing machine to fit under the kitchen counter.
In the end, it turned out to be really easy and we were able to just screw the top off and push it under the counter but we did have a few panic moments (given that we’d just already had to buy a new fridge and a new dishwasher) before we realised that it was such a simple solution.
#5 Replaced sink
I just couldn’t live with the existing sink. Apart from being cracked, it was also sooo disgusting and stained. There was just no way I would have been comfortable washing any dishes in it.
Now you’d think that with over 6 years of DIY experience where we’ve tackled things like replacing a garage roof, plastering rooms, sanding floorboards and building furniture we would be able to fit a new sink… erm, well, nope.
Okay, so we got there in the end but it turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. It took us 5 visits to the DIY store to finally get all of the parts we needed and the sink to fit.
The new sink was as different shape than the old which meant that we had to adjust the size of the hole for the sink to fit.
Then we realised that we couldn’t just connect it to the existing pipes as they were too short – so we bought new connections.
Then there was still a part missing so we bought more parts and when it was finally connected realised that it leaked.
Then, after yet another trip to the DIY store, where we bought some silicone everything now works fine (or at least it seems to be!). All of this wasn’t helped by the fact that we still had no light in the kitchen so had had to resort to this not so elegant lighting solution.
The sink may now be new but the tap is still the leaky old one. We’ve just ordered a new one so that’s next up on our quick kitchen fix list.
#6 Attached lighting
After finally purchasing a ridiculously long ladder to be able to reach our ceilings we were able to install a load of light bulbs throughout the apartment including the kitchen.
Yet again our kitchen threw us a bit of a curveball. We connected the light fitting the same way as in all other rooms, turned on the light switch and nothing. Given that this was the night before a bunch of Jan’s work colleagues were due to visit for a small housewarming it really wasn’t ideal.
In the end, it turned out that the light switch just wasn’t connected correctly and when we finally got round to checking the problem two weeks later it turned out to be a really easy problem to fix. Now, all we need to do is actually replace the bulb dangling from the ceiling with a lamp!
Overall I’m pretty sure you could say that we’re good at ripping out things but obviously slightly less good at actually putting things back together again!
Pop back for part two of our quick kitchen fixes (that turned out not to be quite so quick) where we’ll be sharing if we did ever actually manage to get the rest of the problems solved (spoiler: we have no idea if we will either!).
We’ll also share the result of our kitchen makeover poll!